House on Sand by Debby Handman

Simply put, I loved this book. It was one of those kinds of novels that gets better as it goes, and then when it ends your sad because you have to say goodbye to the characters.

What I loved:

1. The writing style. Very easy to read and pulls the reader along. I also loved how each chapter had a heading that went with the theme of the book and aligned with the emotional journey of Ellie. Good stuff.

2. The characters. My heart broke for Ellie and I was rooting for her because she was a genuinely good person and strong. What really sets this story apart though is the supporting cast of characters, especially the Praying Sisters that become Ellie’s tribe. Each character was so vividly drawn and unique, they felt like real people. I loved the diversity of the group and their relationships with each other. Everyone should have a group of friends like Ruby, Jewel, Allison and Harmony. The interactions with these characters also provided levity and humor to this deep story.

3. The plot. I liked the twists and turns of the storyline. I’m pretty good at predicting how stories are going to play out, but in this one a few incidences took me by surprise, which was nice.

4. The romance. At its core, House on Sand is a women’s fiction novel about recovering from the shattering betrayal of infidelity and subsequent divorce. It’s easy to add romance to a divorce story, but difficult to make it realistic. Not here. Ms. Handman manages to add a believable, poignant, yet swoon-worthy second chance romance element to this story. Well done.

5. The ministry. This story is one that I would hope would help women affected by adultery. But I also see it being a healing book for any Christian woman who has walked through a divorce, as well as helpful to any pastor’s wife and anyone who might find themselves ministering to a woman who has walked through infidelity or divorce.

What I didn’t love:

1. Honestly, nothing. The first part of the story is hard to read because Ms. Handman takes us right into the heart of a woman betrayed. It’s painful, raw, and real. Though I haven’t been through that situation, I have been through an emotionally abusive marriage and divorce, and Ellie’s pain brought back memories of my own. Yet there is hope intertwined in the story right from the beginning. The story never feels overly dark and dramatic. It’s realistic and honest.

I look forward to reading more books from this author!

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